Ecology of the seas and oceans

Marine ecology and biology Progress in marine biological research at the Institute is closely related to the names of many outstanding scientists like L.A.Zenkevich, V.G.Bogorov, M.E.Vinogradov, N.V.Parin, P.I.Usachev, V.N.Nikitin, T.S.Rass, N.I.Tarasov, I.V.Starostin, Z.A.Filatova, G.M.Belyaev, Yu.l.Sorokin, O.K.Bordovsky, A.P.Kuznetsov, V.M.Bel'kovich, Yu.A.Rudyakov, M.N.Sokolova, O.N.Zezina, K.N.Nesis and many others.

Large-scale complex studies of the ocean biological stiucture and productivity were conducted at the Institute by the laboratories of plankton, benthos, nekton, microbiology and fouling biology which later on were joined by the laboratories of biohydrochemistry, acoustics of cetaceans, ecology and mariculture of bottom macrophytic algae. Global maps were created of the quantitative distribution in the World Ocean of primary production of organic matter, biomass of the pelagic and bottom fauna of high- and low-productive ocean areas, ishery-geographic complexes with areas of fish foraging.

Studies of the deep-sea fauna were taken up and grew in scope under the leadership of L.A. Zenkevich. One of the most prominent discoveries of our century was made when life was found to exist in the ultra-abyssal depths of more than 6,000 m. A subsequent study embraced fauna in the majority of the World Ocean's deep-water trenches: about one thousand new species, many genera, families and higher taxons were described. A unique bottom fauna collection was created. For many years ahead the Institute became the world's leader in deep-sea research. A decisive role of the trophic factor was shown in fauna distribution through the water column and on the ocean floor, new principles were suggested and used for a biogeographic division of the World Ocean's water column and the ocean floor on the continental slope, in the abyssal and ultra-abyssal depths, centres of species formation and paths of the dispersion of large bottom fauna taxons, as well as the role in this dispersion of ocean ridges were elucidated.

The transition from free to the civilized methods of ocean management became a problem in the 1960s which made it necessiry to find an ecosystem approach to marine biological studies. Under the leadership of M.E.Vinogradov the Institute undertook large-scale studies of the structure and functioning of marine communities to ascertain the laws to which they are subject in utilizing energy and to determine cause-and -effect relationships in the formation of ocean ecosystems. This problem was the objective of nearly twenty large complex expeditions in the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern oceans, in the Black and Far-Eastern seas. Mathematical models simulating the functioning of marine ecosystems were created for forecasting their behaviour under different conditions; the main regularities in the functioning of the pelagic ecosystems were established, matter and energy fluxes in the pelagic communities of different ocean areas were estimated and ideas of their succession were developed as a basis for mathematical simulation of their functioning.

A wide use of satellite data has made possible an adequate estimation of the global primary production of organic carbon, determination of abundance of different planktonic groups and their seasonal variability in the World Ocean, estimation of the major elements of the carbon cycle in the ocean and the role of CO^ balance on our planet. Later on these studies were expanded to embrace new very important branches -a study of the ecosystems developing on chemobios in the hydrothermal fields and in cold seepings, paleooceanological investigations and research into the evolution of marine and oceanic fauna.

Great importance was attached to the study of fauna (including fishery and potentially fishery fauna) on seamounts and the conditions of its dispersion and existence.

In the last years, much attention was given to the study of ecological consequences of different forms of anthropogenic stress upon the ecosystems in the Russian marginal seas, their modelling and forecasting. For example, detailed observations were made of the mass occurrence in the Black Sea of the population of a predatory introducent -Mnemiopsis leidyi combjelly who undermined the fishery potential of this once very rich fishery basin. The results of the Institute's research have been published in more than 30 volumes of the transactions entitled "Trudy of the Institute of Oceanology", in dozens of monographs, including fundamental many-volume works like "The Pacific Ocean", "Oceanology" and others. Every year hundreds of papers are published in the Russian and foreign journals and a great number of oral presentations are made by the Institute's scientists at the national and international scientific meetings. The Institute's staff members are frequent guests at famous foreign oceanographic centres. Numerous foreign visitors are met on the Institute's premises. Despite the present-time difficulties, the Institute's scientists celebrating the 70th anniversary face the future with confidence and are full of strength for further unveiling the mysteries of the nature's greatest creation - the World Ocean.  

Head of laboratory Prof. P.N. Makkaveyev

Head: Prof. A.V. Gebruk

Dynamics of species composition and population of marine mammals

Head: Prof. S.A. Evseenko

Head: Prof. , RAS Corr. Member A.L. Vereshchaka

Head: Prof. M.V. Flint


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